If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction in the Shenandoah Valley, there is something you need to know.

“If I’m speaking to folks who are dealing with addiction directly, it is that we possibly have a bad batch in our area. If you’re someone who is using, seek help because there is help out there,” said Lauren Cummings, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. 

Last week, eight people overdosed on heroin and synthetic drugs that are suspected of containing Fentanyl, a chemical that makes opiates even more deadly. 

“Well, keep in mind that if there is a bad batch of heroin for the addict mind, it’s more like a selling point. If there’s a bad batch of heroin, we see it as a bad batch, the addict sees it as a great batch,” said John Lindsey, director of Winchester Addictive Services. 

Lindsey said it’s common for addicts to seek out the dealer who supplied the fatal dose in order to achieve a more intense high. 

All of the victims are expected to survive thanks to increased accessibility to resources like Narcan.
 
In Frederick County,  Cummings said 12.5 people have been saved by deputies carrying the overdose symptom-reversing drug. The “half” in the 12.5 figure represents a woman who was six months pregnant. 
 
Once an addict is released from the hospital, their fate is in their hands. Lindsey said this process can be daunting at first, but the key is persistence. 
 
“In the beginning, it’s harder to go to the gym when you’ve been out of shape for five years, right? It’s hard to do treatment when you’ve been out of treatment, for, maybe, your whole life. It’s always harder to start something,” Lindsey said. 
 
Lindsey said he’s seen many clients who have started that journey and ultimately succeeded with sobriety by learning to create a happier life without drugs. He said this could take patience, counseling and a support system. 
 
Cummings said 2016 is on track to have more overdose death’s than last year in the Shenandoah Valley.
 
So far, 21 people have died from overdoses. In 2015, 30 people died. 
 
In total, 80 overdose-related injuries have been reported in the area. 
 
For more information about Winchester Addictive Services, click here